IU School of Education alumna earns nation’s highest honor for teaching science

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The White House has announced that Indiana University School of Education alumna Stacy McCormack, the 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year and a teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, is the Indiana recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching for teaching science. The award is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S.

McCormack earned her bachelor’s in chemistry education at the IU School of Education in Bloomington in 1999. She was also selected as an Armstrong Teacher Educator at the IU School of Education for the 2010-11 academic year.

The excellence of Stacy’s teaching has been evident to her students and fellow educators for some time," said Gerardo González, dean of the IU School of Education. “She is quite deserving of this national honor not simply because of her skill but also her passion for teaching. As an Armstrong Teacher Educator in the School of Education, Stacy serves as both a role model and mentor to many of our future teachers. I extend her my heartfelt congratulations.”

“Quality teaching is both an art and a science—and this award means that you have mastered both domains,” McCormack said in her PAEMST finalist statement. “This will be considered my lifetime achievement award and my highest distinction.” She recently wrote about her view of teaching in the School of Education’s Chalkboard alumni magazine. “It takes a special person to be a teacher, and it is not a job that just anyone can perform well,” she wrote. “Seek ways to be exceptional in an environment where ‘standard’ is the norm.”

The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through sixth grade and those teaching seventh through 12th grades. The 2011 awardees named this week teach seventh through 12th grades.

McCormack receives a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. Later this month, she will be in Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Obama administration.

Half of the six Indiana nominees for the PAEMST honors were IU School of Education alumni. In addition to McCormack, the Indiana nominees included two of the mathematics finalists. Sandra Baker, BS’04 in elementary education and MS’10 in secondary education from the IU School of Education at IUPUI, is a teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Indianapolis. Arsenal Tech High School math teacher Hillary Zortman earned her bachelor’s in math education from the IU School of Education in Bloomington in 2002.

McCormack is currently in China, just beginning a nine-day tour in three cities that will include stops at Chinese schools. The international education company Education First invited McCormack and other award-winning teachers and administrators from around the country to be a part of the trip to compare and contrast schools in China and the U.S.

More about McCormack's award and the rest of the PAEMST award winners are included in this news release from the White House and on her profile page at the PAEMST website.